‘Decision on Ebbsfleet tunnels offers a sustainable future’

The KenEx project is winning wide support

The KenEx cross-river project is being promoted by Thames Gateway Tramlink Ltd, which is working with local stakeholders for “a clean, sustainable, economically generative step-change in local transport”. The KenEx team comprises transport, construction and business management professionals. The project has just completed its first successful funding round. Here is its latest press release.


After months of hard work and technical appraisal, councillors at Kent County Council considered safeguards for the future of a garden-city public transport route which could be used by the cross-river KenEx tram. 
In a show of support for sustainable future development, councillors agreed to the construction of a new tunnel and not to infill an existing tunnel but consider alternatives safeguarding future transportation options utilising this existing asset.
Gordon Pratt, KenEx managing director, said: “We welcome that Kent County Council councillors have voted through crucial infrastructure to create the key public transport link between the new Ebbsfleet developments and Bluewater shopping centre.
“This connection is crucial to significantly reduce journey times by public transport. Furthermore, planners stated that the dimensions of the new tunnel will mean that it will, in the future, be able to take trams as well as buses, which is key to Kent County Council’s stated aim of carrying up to 30 million passengers a year, equivalent to the London Tramlink network.
“A local tram network has broad support by local residents, which has been recognised by councillors who voted unanimously to request consideration of retaining an older tunnel and that the planners look ‘not to infill’ but to consider alternative options safeguarding the future.
Gavin Cleary, Locate in Kent chief executive, said: “With millions being spent on improved public transport and infrastructure, Kent is set to reap the rewards over the next decade in attracting jobs, opportunities and growth.
“These projects will add to that sense of momentum, with improved links for communities on either side of the river a key part of plans to unlock the potential of the Thames estuary region as a major hub for growth industries in the UK.”
Tony Young, director of TravelWatch NorthWest and tramway consultant, added: “Having been heavily involved in the planning for Manchester’s Metrolink tram system, this has now become the largest and most successful tramway in Britain.
“Subsequently working as a tramway consultant for Kent County Council, in 1995 a tramway was planned linking Bluewater with Ebbsfleet, Dartford and Gravesend.
“There is now a great opportunity to safeguard the future option of developing a new tramway using part of the Fastrack busway linked to a new Thames crossing in a tunnel which will create routes directly linking Kent with Essex.
“Maintaining the old north tunnel within the Eastern Quarry development will enable the growth in capacity to be retained for future generations.
“I am confident that the exciting and imaginative KenEx tram plans will dramatically enhance the local economy and environment of Thames Gateway.”

Friday, June 12, 2020

Lower Thames Crossing: an option that is neither healthy nor cost-effective

Lower Thames Crossing… is it really acceptable?

Alex Hills, CPRE Kent’s Gravesham district chairman, stresses the importance of working together in preparation for the next phase of consultation on the Lower Thames Crossing

Cities in this country and around the world have become aware that, due to the dreadful Covid-19 disease, more needs to be done to boost active travel (walking and cycling).
This is partly to enable social distancing and partly to reduce air pollution. The Climate Change Committee has called for proposed spending on roads to be spent on measures that offer better value for money and at the same time reduce congestion and air pollution.
Increasing investment in active travel, sustainable transport and broadband all offer better value for money. The KenEx tramline (see here) could take up to 10 per cent of traffic using the Dartford crossing for £600 million as opposed to a new crossing costing at least £6.8 billion and increasing congestion.
As we gear up for the next phase of the Lower Thames Crossing consultation process later this year, it is important that we work together with as many people as possible.
CPRE Kent’s Gravesham committee has been working with the Dartford and Gravesham Cycling Forum and the Thames Crossing Action Group in Essex (see here).
Linking up with the excellent group in Essex sends out a clear message from both sides of the river that the new crossing should not be an option.

TOGETHER WE ARE STRONGER

  • To read the CPRE Kent response to the most recent consultation, click here

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Lower Thames Crossing: you can join renewed consultation on giant road scheme

The Lower Thames Crossing: changes are afoot

Consultation on the proposed Lower Thames Crossing reopens today (Wednesday, January 29) after a series of alterations to the scheme made by Highways England.
Almost 29,000 responses during the second tranche of public consultation caused HE to announce a delay in its planning application for the £6.8 billion road scheme.
Chris Taylor, HE director of complex infrastructure, wrote at the time: “We’re now considering the consultation responses in detail as we continue to improve the design of the project.
“We’ll also be using the information gathered from our ground investigations programme to ensure that our project is delivered in a way that has the smallest possible impact on the nearby communities and environment.
“To do this effectively, we will need more time to develop our planning application (Development Consent Order application), which we now plan to submit in summer 2020.
“This, however, does not impact the target road-opening in 2027 as we’ve done more work to our schedule to speed up the construction programme.”
The eight-week consultation ends on Wednesday, March 25. If you would like to take part, visit one of 20 public or mobile information events in north Kent and south Essex to speak to members of the HE team – they are listed below.
There is also the opportunity to respond online, via Freepost, or by email.
You can read consultation documents at locations across both counties: click here for details

Key changes to the road scheme:

  • The southern (Kent) entrance has been moved 350 metres (0.2 miles) to the south to reduce impact on the Thames Estuary and Marshes Ramsar site [wetland of international environmental importance]
  • There will be a direct link between Gravesend and the M2/A2 eastbound
  • The Gravesend East junction and link roads are being redesigned to improve journey times
  • There will be a narrowed width of construction work through the Kent Downs AONB
  • The plan for a service area at Tilbury has been dropped
  • The proposed maintenance depot at Tilbury will be placed at an existing Highways England site
  • The idea for a Tilbury junction has been dropped
  • The route in Essex has been moved some 60 metres north-north-east to reduce the need for pylon realignment
  • Some slip roads at the junction between the Lower Thames Crossing, A13, A1089 and A1013 are being redesigned to lessen visual impact, move roads away from properties and improve safety
  • One lane southbound between the M25 and A13 junction is being cut, reducing that section to two lanes
  • Structures over the Mardyke River, Golden Bridge Sewer and Orsett Fen Sewer have been altered to reduce both visual impact and the amount of flood compensation required
  • The Essex route is being moved some 200 metres south-west to reduce the work required to move a gas main and limit impact on a landfill site
  • The southbound link from the M25 to the Lower Thames Crossing is being changed to avoid demolishing and rebuilding the Ockendon Road bridge over the M25

Public information events

  • Cascades Leisure Centre, Thong Lane, Gravesend DA12 4LG
    Thursday, February 27, 2pm-8pm
  • Gravesham Civic Centre, Windmill Street, Gravesend DA12 1AU
    Saturday, March 14, midday-6pm
  • Thurrock Civic Centre, Blackshots Lane, Grays RM16 2JU
    Friday, February 21, 2pm-8pm
  • New Windmill Hall, St Mary’s Lane, Upminster RM14 2QH
    Saturday, February 22, midday-6pm
  • East Tilbury Village Hall, Princess Margaret Road, East Tilbury, Essex RM18 8RB
    Tuesday, March 3, 2pm-8pm
  • Orsett Hall Hotel, Prince Charles Avenue, Orsett RM16 3HS
    Monday, March 9, 2pm-8pm
  • Linford Methodist Church, East Tilbury Road, Linford SS17 0QS
    Wednesday, March 11, 2pm-8pm
  • Brandon Groves Community Club, Brandon Groves Avenue, South Ockendon RM15 6TD
    Tuesday, March 17, 2pm-8pm

Mobile information events

  • Chalk Parish Hall, Pirrip Close, Gravesend DA12 2ND
    Wednesday, March 4, 10am-7pm
  • Higham Library car park, 8 Forge Lane ME3 7AS
    Friday, March 6, 10am-3pm
  • Higham train station car park ME3 7JQ
    Friday, March 6, 4pm-7pm
  • Gravesend town centre, King Street DA12 2XX
    Saturday, March 7, 10am-5pm
  • Shorne Woods Country Park, Brewers Road, Shorne, Gravesend DA12 3HX
    Sunday, March 8, 11am-4pm
  • Meadow Rooms, The Street, Cobham DA12 3BZ
    Thursday, March 12, 10am-3pm
  • Sole Street station car park, Cobham DA13 0XY
    Thursday, March 12, 4pm-7pm
  • Shorne Village Hall car park, 16 The Street, Shorne DA12 3EA
    Wednesday, March 18, 10am-7pm
  • Defoe Parade, Grays (Chadwell St Mary) RM16 4QR
    Wednesday, February 26, 10am-7pm
  • Thames Chase Forest Centre, Broadfields, Pike Lane, Upminster RM14 3NS
    Friday, February 28, midday-5pm
  • Upminster Library, 26 Corbets Tey Road, Upminster RM14 2BB
    Thursday, March 19, 10am-7pm
  • Grays town centre, High Street RM17 6NP
    Saturday, March 21, 10am-5pm
  • To learn more about the project, click here 
  • To take part in the consultation, click here 

Application for Lower Thames Crossing DCO delayed by huge response to public consultation

Highways England says it still expects the Lower Thames Crossing to open in 2027

A staggering total of almost 29,000 responses to the public consultation has caused Highways England to delay its planning application for the Lower Thames Crossing.   
The second tranche of consultation on the £6.8 billion road scheme pulled in 28,493 responses, meaning HE needs more time to analyse any new information and views.
Chris Taylor, HE director of complex infrastructure, wrote in a project update: “We’re now considering the consultation responses in detail as we continue to improve the design of the project.
“We’ll also be using the information gathered from our ground investigations programme to ensure that our project is delivered in a way that has the smallest possible impact on the nearby communities and environment.
“To do this effectively, we will need more time to develop our planning application (Development Consent Order application), which we now plan to submit in summer 2020.
“This, however, does not impact the target road-opening in 2027 as we’ve done more work to our schedule to speed up the construction programme.”
Almost 15,000 people are reported to have visited some 60 LTC consultation events, while many thousands more got involved with the scheme online.
Work began in July on more than 700 tests in Kent and Essex aimed at identifying what the 14.5-mile road, including tunnelling, will be built on and through.
Project director Tim Jones said: “The complex programme of tests and surveys we’re embarking on here will enable us to better understand the ground conditions, and help us build it safely, in a way that protects the environment while keeping costs down.
“This preliminary work will help us to give the clearest possible picture of what will be involved in building the new crossing when we apply for planning consent and help ensure our construction programme can get the new road open for 2027.
“Our priority right now is to carry out the ground investigations in a way that will have the smallest possible impact on the environment and nearby communities.”

  • For more on the Lower Thames Crossing, see here, here and here   

Monday, September 9, 2019


Remember, remember, the 20th of December…

Yes, Thursday, December 20, is the last day you can submit your comments on Highways England’s plans for the new Lower Thames Crossing.

We know that the pollution, congestion and delays at the existing Dartford-Thurrock crossings are intolerable, and agree that action needs to be taken to protect the lives and livelihoods of people living and working nearby, as well as those who use the crossing. However, the proposals for the new crossing will not fix these problems. The planned new crossing is now simply a mechanism to ‘unlock growth potential’, which means encouraging ever-more road journeys – not managing congestion.

It takes very little scrutiny of the proposal documents to realise that if the proposed crossing east of Gravesend and Tilbury were to be built, it would make barely any improvement on conditions at Dartford or western Thurrock.

Instead of an expensive and damaging new infrastructure project, in an area of the country that is already massively constrained and over-stressed, and which will lock in another generation to damaging car-dependent domestic and commercial development, CPRE Kent wants a better solution. We are calling for a sustainable national transport strategy that does not encourage the ceaseless growth of road-based traffic but focuses on genuinely sustainable policies for the movement of people and goods.

We will be submitting our consultation response next week and we’ll post it on this website for anyone interested to check out.

Meanwhile, you might like to look at some of our earlier comments:

And here are thoughts of Alex Hills, our Dartford and Gravesham chairman:

Here is the consultation submission from the Dartford and Gravesham Cycling Forum:

Our friends at the Lower Thames Crossing Association have put together a useful ‘Don’t Panic’ guide to responding; you can find it here: https://ltca.org.uk/featured/a-guide-to-completing-the-consultation-questionnaire

You can see our response, submitted today (20th), here: CPRE Kent response to LTC Statutory Consultation

  • Finally, and perhaps most importantly, if you would like to have your say, follow this link:

https://highwaysengland.citizenspace.com/ltc/consultation/?gclid=CJn9t7OHn98CFZKThQodac0O4g

14th December 2018: Updated 20th December

 


Curiouser and curiouser… why would anyone back this Thanet Parkway plan?

Early impressions of a Thanet Parkway station

The case for a Thanet Parkway railway station near Ramsgate seems ever weaker.
Details have been published of a damning government rejection of Kent County Council’s bid to win funding for the project.
KCC had put in a planning application for a site off Hengist Way, close to the Ramsgate-Ashford railway line, with the intention that a new station would open in 2021.
The project had been costed at £11 million, but local media outlets have reported that this figure has almost doubled.
KCC’s application for an £8.7 million grant was rejected last year by the Department for Transport, but a statement secured by Broadstairs man Ian Driver might make some wonder why such a project is even being considered.
“The panel considered that the proposal was not yet developed enough to support at this time as the project was still only at the GRIP [Guide to Rail Investment Process] stage one,” says the DfT statement.
“There were also concerns that the project would require extensive infrastructure work to allow the service to operate as planned, that no funding had been identified to cover the additional cost of this extensive infrastructure work, and that the new station would have a detrimental impact on the existing timetable.”
And the positives?
In truth, none seem immediately apparent, at least as far as the DfT is concerned.
“In particular, the panel was concerned that accommodating an additional stop at Thanet Parkway would add two minutes to the journey on the line between Ashford and Ramsgate,” says the statement.
“This means that Ramsgate and Margate would benefit from net improvements of only one minute, rather than three minutes as planned in the current journey time improvement scheme.
“In addition, the panel noted that building a new station would require Network Rail to redevelop a nearby level crossing, but that there were no proposals in the business case on how to cover the costs of this.”
Despite such a crushing critique of the project, KCC reportedly still plans to push ahead with its parkway plans.
These stretch back some years. In December 2010, the county council unveiled its Growth without Gridlock strategy, leader Paul Carter saying:
“A Thanet Parkway station would support economic growth in Thanet and accelerate development of Kent International Airport at Manston, while improved line speeds between Ashford and Ramsgate would benefit all local rail users.
“With an estimated 1,000 new jobs generated per million new air passengers, these improvements would help create 6,000 jobs by 2033.”
The uncertain status of the airport – the development of which was supported financially by KCC before it changed tack and backed Stone Hill Park Ltd’s plans for 4,000 homes at Manston – together with the fact that, far from improving line speeds between Ashford and Ramsgate, a Thanet Parkway station would in fact increase them makes Cllr Carter’s trumpeting of the project seem puzzling.
And that’s before we even consider those, at best dubious, job figures…
Thanet CPRE chairman David Morrish has already given his opinion on the idea.
“We believe that a decision on the parkway station shouldn’t be made until the situation at the Manston airport site is clarified. It was, after all, initially proposed that a parkway station would serve an expanded airport.
“There are widespread fears that it would result in the closing of nearby Minster station, while the idea of encouraging people to travel across Thanet to a new station rather than using their existing stations of Ramsgate, Broadstairs and Margate – with all the issues of traffic congestion that would entail – is bizarre.
“There needs to be a full study on the impact on local transport, which is likely to suffer as a result of this, while are we sure there is enough capacity on the trains to take extra people to London, as is intended?
“Further, we thought that the protection of our farmland was moving up the agenda in the light of the great changes that lie ahead. This station would of course result in a substantial loss of high-quality farmland.”

For more on this story, see here

Friday, August 31, 2018

County council puts in planning application for Thanet Parkway station

Early impressions of a Thanet Parkway station

Thanet CPRE has given a cool response to news that the county council has put in a planning application for a Thanet Parkway station near Ramsgate.
It is planned for a site off Hengist Way, close to the Ramsgate-Ashford railway line, and intended to open in 2021.
An initial application had been expected last year, but amendments to junction design and pedestrian and cycle access delayed it.
The project had been costed at £11 million, but this figure, The Isle of Thanet News reports, has almost doubled according to new estimates.
The plan is to cut journey times between Ramsgate and London Stratford International station to about an hour, a reduction of some 15 minutes on the current shortest time between the town and the capital.
A Kent County Council spokesman is reported as saying: “An application for the proposed Thanet Parkway station was submitted last week.
“It will go through a period of validation and, once this is completed, people will be able to view and comment on the Kent.gov.uk planning site.
“Once validated, we will also notify all residents who requested updates on the project at the public consultation held last year.
“All residents affected by or in the immediate vicinity of the proposals will be contacted as part of the planning process as a matter of course.”
However, Thanet CPRE chairman David Morrish was less than impressed by the plan.
“We believe that a decision on the parkway station shouldn’t be made until the situation at the Manston airport site is clarified. It was, after all, initially proposed that a parkway station would serve an expanded airport.
“There are widespread fears that it would result in the closing of nearby Minster station, while the idea of encouraging people to travel across Thanet to a new station rather than using their existing stations of Ramsgate, Broadstairs and Margate – with all the issues of traffic congestion that would entail – is bizarre.
“There needs to be a full study on the impact on local transport, which is likely to suffer as a result of this, while are we sure there is enough capacity on the trains to take extra people to London, as is intended?
“Further, we thought that the protection of our farmland was moving up the agenda in the light of the great changes that lie ahead. This station would of course result in a substantial loss of high-quality farmland.”

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Operation Stack: the CPRE Kent view and the chance for you to have a say

Operation Stack in summer 2015, when the M20 was effectively turned into a lorry park for more than 30 days

A fresh round of consultation opens today (Monday, June 11) on tackling the congestion caused by freight traffic held up when trying to cross the English Channel.
Or, in other words, what can we all do about Operation Stack?
CPRE Kent has made regular contributions to the debate on Stack (the process used by police and the Port of Dover to park lorries on the M20 when ferry or Eurotunnel services are disrupted by industrial action or bad weather; the organisation’s view is summed up by director Dr Hilary Newport:
“We are pleased that the flawed plan for a single huge lorry park – the size of Disneyland – just off junction 11 of the M20 were dropped.
“We, along with the House of Commons Transport Select Committee, did not believe that this could be a viable solution to keeping the M20 flowing freely, and there is no doubt that it would have been a huge blight on Kent’s countryside.”
Some two years ago, when there was also a round of public consultation, Dr Newport said: “We do not think that a single huge lorry park, which may only be called into use for a few days – if at all – in any year is the answer.
“A better solution would offer real resilience to the logistics industry now and into the future and help not just Kent but the whole country cope with disruption, strikes or emergency, such as extreme weather, fire or security threats.”
Other problems that need addressing include roadside parking of HGVs with the associated litter and noise; noise and air pollution caused by engines running in slow-moving traffic jams or when stationary to keep refrigeration units running; and disproportionate wear and tear on Kent’s roads.
CPRE Kent contends that instead of the expensive and damaging construction of a single lorry park, investment should be made to:

  • Support a network of dispersed, serviced truck stops that operate on a commercial basis and have some degree of overflow capacity in the event of disruption to Channel crossings. Many shippers prohibit trucks stopping within 120 kilometres of Calais. Similar measures should be employed to hold vehicles outside the Channel Corridor until called forward.
  • Incentivise the use of alternative ports of entry and exit (such as Newhaven, Ramsgate, Sheerness, Dartford, Portsmouth and Purfleet), as well as modal shift away from road-based freight – this would also have the additional benefit of reducing reliance on the Dartford crossings.
  • Incentivise shippers to return to unaccompanied trailer operations across the Channel, which would also boost UK employment of HGV drivers and reduce emissions.
  • Work with the logistics industry, fleet operators and drivers to implement ‘smart queuing’ – smartphones, GPS and communications technology should remove the need for drivers to be nearest the front of any physical queue in Kent when they could be called forward from dispersed locations further afield and guaranteed timely passage across the Channel.
  • Implement ‘quick wins’ – CPRE Kent supports expansion of the existing Stop24 truck facility south of the M20 at junction 11; this could quickly provide a partial solution.

Dr Newport said: “With modern technology and sophisticated international business operations, we are sure there is a better solution than allowing all the lorries to build up in Kent with no other way of reaching Europe than the Dover/Folkestone to Calais crossings.”

  • To read CPRE Kent’s full position paper, click here
  • If you would like to contribute to the consultation, click here

Infrastructure consultation: CPRE gives its views

What will infrastructure development do to Kent? (pic SOS Kent)

“A distributed network of consolidation hubs offers a very different vision of modernity to the vast Operation Stack lorry park currently proposed to service channel freight at the foot of the Kent Downs AONB.
“The development of smaller consolidation hubs should not be seen as an alternative to the use of rail for transporting freight.
“Globally, important trading partners are now making increasing use of rail, with China launching direct rail freight services to Europe and France now using scanning equipment that can more easily identify stowaways on freight entering the Channel Tunnel, thus alleviating security concerns.”
We feature the above passage as a Kent hook to pull you into CPRE’s response to the National Infrastructure Commission’s (NIC) interim consultation on a National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA).
At almost 6,700 words, the document might need a couple of sittings, but it includes plenty to give food us for thought.
The consultation, entitled Congestion, Capacity and Carbon, spanned many issues, with CPRE electing to focus its response on 10 questions, ranging from Brexit to water policy, autonomous vehicles and land capture.
CPRE will be consulting with the commission further before publication of the final NIA this year.
You can read our response to the interim consultation here.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Concern over potential cuts to train services

CPRE Kent’s Tunbridge Wells committee has raised fears about cuts in train services for villages in the consultation on the South Eastern rail franchise.

One of the proposals is to reduce the frequency of trains on “less well used stations” which we believe could include Pluckley, Headcorn, Staplehurst, Marden, Paddock Wood, High Brooms and Hildenborough. It is well hidden under the heading “to speed up longer distance journeys” on page 21 of the consultation.

Arriving at Headcorn, photo Joshua Brown

Arriving at Headcorn, photo Joshua Brown

CPRE Kent Chairman Christine Drury said: “To cut or add uncertainty about rail services for villages where development is being deliberately focused because of the stations is madness. It will lead to more land banking, more unbuilt permissions and more 5 year housing land supply failures. Plus, there will be uncertainty and unfair changes for the communities already living close to and relying on these stations. Residents of villages that have a rail station must have confidence in the service.”

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Staplehurst station by Liz Poycock

Arriving at Pluckley, photo Joshua Brown

Arriving at Pluckley, photo Joshua Brown

Read our consultation response here.

May 22nd 2017

 

 


Disappointment at Thames crossing announcement

CPRE Kent has said it is disappointed at the Government’s decision to press ahead with a hugely damaging new Thames crossing east of Gravesend.

Artist's impression of the bored tunnels

Artist’s impression of the bored tunnels

“This will devastate the countryside and the environment and will not solve the terrible congestion problem at Dartford,” said CPRE Kent Director Hilary Newport.

“We have long argued that simply building new roads does not result in less traffic – in fact it often has the opposite effect.”

Dartford crossing, photo: Highways England

Dartford crossing, photo: Highways England

A CPRE report out only last month (Monday 20th March), following the largest ever independent review of completed road schemes in England, reveals that road-building is failing to provide the congestion relief and economic boost promised, while devastating the environment. (1)

We believe that spending up to £3 billion on a new crossing is the wrong answer. It has instead called for a wider, more resilient solution, including investment in ports north of the Thames to disperse the cross-channel movement of freight. We need a sustainable transport strategy.

The option for the new crossing chosen, two bored tunnels east of Gravesend, will destroy ancient woodland, destroy important wildlife habitats which are home to protected species and destroy productive farmland, needed to feed our growing population. It will ruin the beautiful landscapes and panoramic views which make Gravesham so special. And it will have a devastating impact on Shorne Country Park, one of the area’s most important educational, environmental and recreational assets, used by so many people, including horse riders, walkers, cyclists, runners and families or those who just seek the tranquillity and peace so vital to our busy http://tramadolfeedback.com lives.

Shorne Woods, photo KCC

Shorne Woods, photo KCC

shorne-wood, Visit kent

Shorne Wood, photo Visit Kent

The crossing itself will not cause all the damage. It is the approach road and the new transport corridor it will create that will be so environmentally damaging. This option will mean the loss of all the open land between Gravesham and Medway changing the character of Gravesham for ever.

A major justification of the need for the new crossing is the volume of road freight traffic – up 80% in the last 20 years to over 3.7 million trucks per year travelling through the M20 ‘Channel corridor’ in Kent along the foot of the Kent Downs AONB. 60% of all UK freight travels on HGVs via the channel crossings: most of this is travelling to or from places north of the Thames, some of it even crosses at Dover to travel on to Scotland or even Ireland. Clearly this overdependence needs to be addressed. The huge volume of freight traffic also significantly affects air quality, particularly in Dartford and Dover.

We want other options considered – as well as diverting more freight to alternative ports, there should be more use of rail for freight, the use of smart technology to manage freight through our motorway networks, measures to promote cycling and walking for local journeys and better public transport.

Meanwhile, we continue to argue that any new housebuilding should be sited in sustainable locations, close to employment and services and with public transport links – this would also help regenerate our urban centres. Too many developments are being built in greenfield locations only accessible by car.

(1) http://www.cpre.org.uk/resources/transport/roads/item/4543-the-end-of-the-road-challenging-the-road-building-consensus

12th April 2017


The end of the road?

CPRE Kent  has long argued that increased road building in fact leads to increased traffic, does not reduce journey times and does not bring the promised economic growth to areas. Plus it can destroy beautiful areas of countryside.

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Traffic by Jon Coller

New research published by CPRE today (March 20th) reveals that road-building is failing to provide the congestion relief and economic boost promised, while devastating the environment [1].

No wonder we are so concerned at the wisdom of potentially spending £3billion on a new Lower Thames Crossing east of Gravesend which would have a terrible economic impact and not solve the problem of congestion at the Dartford crossings.

The research, the largest ever independent review of completed road schemes in England, arrives as Highways England starts consulting on which road schemes will receive funding, set to triple to £3 billion a year by 2020 [2].

Drawing on the research, CPRE’s report The end of the road? directly challenges government claims that ‘the economic gains from road investment are beyond doubt’ [3]; that road-building will lead to ‘mile a minute’ journeys; and that the impact on the environment will be limited ‘as far as possible’ [4]. The report shows how road building over the past two decades has repeatedly failed to live up to similar aims. Continue reading

Thanet Parkway station consultation

We have submitted our comments on the Thanet Parkway new station consultation.

Thanet-Parkway-consultation-banner

These include the impact on the countryside: “It’s a jarring urban intrusion in an otherwise largely rural landscape, and the station’s proximity to St Augustine’s Cross will significantly erode the tranquillity of its setting.”

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St Augustine’s Cross, photo: shirokazan

We also fear there will be more car journeys to reach the station:

“The station as originally envisaged was intended to serve Manston Airport, and therefore to reduce the need for passengers to and from the airport to travel by car. Under the current proposals, this station will be a significant generator of additional car journeys as it encourages out-commuting.”

Plus there is not a good enough alternative way of getting to the station:

“We note the cycle and pedestrian access from Cliffsend, but the fast dual carriageways which form much of the approach to the main entrance to the north of the station are not at all conducive to walking or cycling from other directions.”

The consultation ends on Sunday (19th). Read our comments here.

March 15th 2017.

 

Freight Action Plan consultation

CPRE Kent has responded to Kent County council’s consultation on its Freight Action Plan.

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HGV selection by Barry V

We expressed concern about the negative impact of HGVs, including:

  • the increased wear and tear on the county’s roads;
  • air pollution;
  • the number of serious traffic incidents;
  • the danger, noise, litter and nuisance of fly-parking;
  • damage to rural verges and hedgerows.

We also stressed again our opposition to a single gigantic lorry park as a solution to Operation Stack.

To read our full response click here.

March 14th 2017

 

 

 

Devastating impact of Heathrow expansion – our view

CPRE Kent has expressed its concern about the effect on tranquillity and the environment of airport expansion after the Government backed a third runway at Heathrow.
The countryside protection charity has campaigned against airport expansion at both Gatwick and Heathrow, in particular because of the serious impact on air quality and the devastating effect of aircraft noise.

photo: CPRE

photo: CPRE

“Aircraft noise brings misery to those living under the flight paths, including many people in west Kent,” said CPRE Kent Director Hilary Newport. “The importance of tranquillity cannot be overstated – it is the main reason why people enjoy the countryside, it can prevent stress and increases our enjoyment of exercise and play.”

Photo: Phil Weedon

Photo: Phil Weedon

CPRE Kent also fears the extraordinary pressure that will be placed on the environment and existing infrastructure around Heathrow. Thousands of additional employees and passengers will be drawn to an area of the country already struggling to cope with the demand for housing and transport. Continue reading